Skip to main content
  • 117 Accesses

Abstract

One of the most difficult tasks facing humans is to become aware of and challenge their key operating assumptions before a major crisis has occurred. The only way to do this is to study a wide variety of crises both within and outside of one’s industry. In addition, one must continually study and review the assumptions under which one’s organization and technology operate. In this chapter, we focus on several operating assumptions that lead to technological and organizational breakdowns. We investigate why the reliance on technology is not always a good idea, why training is not enough, why organizational culture matters, why organizations mistake the absence of accidents for the presence of safe operations, and why organizations constantly drift away from safety into failure.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 39.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. Snook, S. and Connor, Jeffrey. C. 2005. “The price of progress: structurally induced inaction,” in W. H. Starbuck, and M. Farjoun (Eds.), Organization at the Limit: Lessons from the Columbia Disaster, Blackwell Publishing, Malden, pp. 178–201.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Darley, John M. and Latane, Bibb, “Bystander intervention in emergencies: diffusion of responsibility,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 8, No. 4, 1968, pp. 377–83.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Cook, Kevin, Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime That Changed America, Norton, New York, NY, 2014.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Snook, Scott, 2000. Friendly Fire: The Accidental Shootdown of U.S. Black Hawks over Northern Iraq, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  5. Reason, James T., Managing the Risks of Organizational Accidents. Brookfield, Vt., USA: Ashgate, 1997;

    Google Scholar 

  6. Wood, Donna D., “Creating Foresight: Lessons for Enhancing Resilience from Columbia,” in W. H. Starbuck, and M. Farjoun (Eds.), Organization at the Limit: Lessons from the Columbia Disaster, Blackwell Publishing, Malden, 2005, pp. 289–308;

    Google Scholar 

  7. Starbuck, William H. and Milliken, Frances J., “Challenger: fine-tuning the odds until something breaks,” The Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 25, No. 4, 1988, p. 319.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Copyright information

© 2014 Ian I. Mitroff and Can M. Alpaslan

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Mitroff, I.I., Alpaslan, C.M. (2014). Why People and Organizations Break Down. In: The Crisis-Prone Society: A Brief Guide to Managing the Beliefs that Drive Risk in Business. Palgrave Pivot, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137454836_4

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics